Student cultural centers tie campus to larger community

by Choua Lee

Students interested in Cinco de Mayo festivities, social activism or meeting other like-minded students have seven cultural centers to choose from on campus.
The University’s cultural centers have provided a variety of services and opportunities to students since the 1970s.
Many of the cultural centers are temporarily located in the temporary student union at 720 Washington Ave. S.E.
The American Indian Student Cultural Center is located in Jones Hall.
Each individual center is run by its own board of students, who ultimately provide University minority students with opportunities for socialization and campus involvement.
Funded through student services fees paid by every student each semester, the centers offer study spaces and academic assistance as well.
“(The cultural centers) provide a home away from home,” said Carolyn Nayemutsu, program director of multicultural and academic affairs.
The queer student center encompasses a number of smaller groups geared toward specific members of the queer community, such as the University bisexual and transgender community, queer women and Delta Lambda Phi. This summer, the queer student center will participate in the annual Twin Cities Pride Parade at Loring Park.
The centers are both educational and a source of entertainment to students, Nayemutsu said. Academic conferences, festivals and dances are just a few examples of how the centers promote their awareness on campus, combining both the traditional and the new from their respective cultures.
“They have the more cutting-edge speakers,” explained Nayemutsu. “The centers enhance involvement, leadership…and are a very good way of connecting.”
In September, La Raza will sponsor a three-part presentation of “La Batalla de Chile,” a film of Chile’s socialist revolution and counterrevolution in the early 1970s. Among other events, the center will also host a lecture about social conditions for workers in the Americas and a photograph presentation about child labor around the world.